The Ballsies 2014


Another year, another Ballsies. Judged by some of Australia’s leading creative directors, The Ballsies is our annual awards program, rewarding our team for demonstrating ‘ballsy’ behaviour both in work and culture. This year’s identity centred on the idea: What’s ballsier than telling the truth?

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See, there’s nothing quite like awards nights for being all sizzle and no sausage. While they’re a great opportunity to celebrate achievement, they’re also just a little self-involved. So along with an awareness campaign and merchandise, the Official Guide to the Ballsies took the brave stance of holding a mirror up to awards nights and revealing some of the deeper realities.


First and foremost though, the Ballsies is a time for celebration. And lawn bowls. And bow ties. And strange man-wigs.


Big thanks to our guest judges:

Ben Miles – Interbrand
Christopher Doyle – Christopher Doyle & Co
Graham Barton – Folk
Brad Stevens – Born & Raised

Check out our Behance to see more from our Ballsies identity case study.


The Best Design Awards

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The Best Design Awards have finished accepting entries as they get ready for judging in early August.

Re Creative Director Jason Little will head over the ditch to take part on the jury for Product, Interactive, Spatial, and Graphic.

If the work is anything like previous years, it’s going to be of a scarily high calibre.

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The Best in each category get a Gold Pin, whilst the very best project in each discipline will be awarded the supreme, Purple Pin for work that raises the bar of New Zealand design. Didn’t we get spoons once in AGDA? A pin sounds cooler. Or a pinnacle. One of them would be nice.

You can follow the event and get wind of the winners shortlist on twitter @bestawards @designersinst

As part of the event preparations, Jason was given a quick interrogation just to be sure he wasn’t the rugby player.

Here’s his answers:

1.    Why design?

To solve little problems.

To solve big problems.

To change the world, or at least try to.

To make things better.

To make things more beautiful.

To make things more user-friendly.

To live a life full of ideas and creative challenges.

To be happy.

2.    What influences you and your design practice?

Thinking beyond the graphic. Design in a greater sense. Solving bigger problems,and looking to make a real difference. Whatever it takes to solve a problem and do so in an innovative and original manner. Aiming to Create work that changes perceptions, gets a reaction, and makes people take notice.

We’re always aware and influenced in some way by what’s going on at any given moment – It’s what you do with that knowledge and awareness.

The people that make up Re are our own biggest influence to anything we do. What they see, read, write, think – it all adds up to the collective mind of the agency, and therefore the output.

3.    What’s something you read on the internet and never forgot?

“Whoever came up with the new Melbourne Logo needs to have their eyes poked out with a wooden spoon” – Bit harsh.

4.    Favourite piece of design, and why?

2012 Olympics. Most memorable and talked about piece of branding in the past decade:

Broke all the rules; Made ugly acceptable; Changed the industry forever; Inspired designers and clients to be braver. Opened up the possibilities for many agencies and clients.

5.    What’s the website you obsessively visit?

Coastalwatch everyday (surf check). (website/app)

The usual social media (twitter, instagram etc)

Brandnew probably.

Behance maybe.

Disciples of Design – once in a while

Fastcodesign – usually through a twitter link.

6.    What studio do you dream of working at?

In the past and in the first 10 years of designing, it was the proven and the innovators. Pentagram. The Partners. Frost. Wolff Olins. Studio Dumbar. & IDEO. Now that I run a business, Those dreams are about my own studio: How to create game-changing work? How to stay relevant? How to make a difference in the world? How to keep it fun?

7.    What’s interesting about New Zealand design?

It seems to be less bound by constraints, however I’m sure that’s just a perception based on a handful of pieces that float on the internet and award shows. Nearly every designer believes the grass is greener in other countries, the former thought is probably not true about design opportunities, but i bet your regular garden grass is a shade greener. Perhaps you have great creative salesmen in NZ, who know how to speak to clients and sell brilliant thinking. The definite truth is that the irreverence and play that exists in NZ pervades through the work – It’s refreshingly honest and entertaining.

8.    What does the future bring?

Who knows? By focusing on the people around me, the clients I work with and the thinking I apply to the problems in front of me, I’m hoping it brings satisfaction of a life well lived. It definitely brings some surf, and that’s good enough to keep me content.

9.   What can design fix?

Design is about making something better. It can fix a lot of things, including some things we didn’t even know were broken. Design can change the world. If I didn’t believe it, I wouldn’t spend my life designing.

Brand New Awards


We’re proud to announce that two of our brands (Optus & Jason L) have won in the ‘Comprehensive Identity Program’ section of the 2013 Brand New Awards.

For those that don’t know, Brand New is a division of UnderConsideration. It exists to chronicle and provide opinions on corporate and brand identity work covering designs of well-known products, companies, and organizations.

Our certificates have just arrived (thanks Armin and the team at Brand New) and a hearty congratulations to all the other winners.


Where leaders turn


The Confidante is a group of highly successful CEOs, providing tailored executive coaching and mentoring services. In a nutshell, they work directly with business leaders to ascertain barriers to professional success. They then draw on their extensive network to find the people who can help their client move forward.

The Confidante’s work is by its very nature, confidential. The identity is designed around the idea of discretion – a place where leaders turn. The logo mark references its name as well as its offering through the use of the “C” turned to resemble a keyhole, and a person within. Subtle and sophisticated, the mark is descriptive and suggestive.

The communications use subtle messaging embedded within longer copy through the use of italics, ie. ‘business is who you know’. Typographic illustrations utilise negative space to reveal additional meaning. By emphasising The Confidante’s discreet nature, the identity reassures clients that their business is their business.

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Embedded messaging






Launch event invitationConf6Conf5

Corporate literature
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Given the nature and sensitivity of management training and education, we were tasked with portraying a sophisticated organisation – a discreet and powerful network of industry leaders that can remedy the failures of leadership or encourage future growth.



Optus Rockcorps


It’s crazy to think that Rockcorps was dreamed up by seven friends around a pasta dinner a few years ago in Los Angeles. It’s now a global movement.

Rockcorps started in the aftermath of 9/11. The founding team felt this was the perfect time for people to pull together to help each other, and have fun doing it. They wanted to figure out a way to work with brands to make volunteering a part of youth lifestyle – just like sports, music, fashion and gaming.

They had the great idea to create a musical currency: rewarding good deeds with good vibes. Give some of your time to charity and get an exclusive concert ticket in return. Three years ago, Rockcorps teamed up with Optus. Since then they’ve been making a big difference in communities around Oz, all while giving cash-strapped teens the opportunity to get to a gig or two.

The new identity mashes the personality of Optus and with the festival vibes and youth of Rockcorps. Collaborating with illustrator Rudi De Wet, we created an illustrated world that doubles as t-shirt prints for volunteers. Check out his fantastic folio here.

We had a lot of fun branding this partnership and a few of us even got to help out at one of their projects. Parramatta PCYC needed a facelift. Paint was splashed. Fun was had. Gigs were attended.

#PeaceOut #vibes

Rock on

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Re Issue 01

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Tomorrow will be built on creativity and inventiveness. For companies, organisations and brands, the ability to adapt with this shift and adopt new behaviours will determine who flourishes and who falls into oblivion.

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In an era where everyone’s seen it all, the only way forward is to challenge everything. For us, it’s about courage and the unknown. Our aim is to create exciting work every day – and to be excited about it ourselves.

The RE issue 01 is an overview of some of the great brands we’ve been fortunate enough to work with in 2012-13.

Here’s to the relentless pursuit of new ideas.
Let us know if you want one (and a book too).

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Check it out on our Behance page


Are all designers wankers?


When you’re a student, breaking into the big bad industry can seem a daunting prospect. In the latest issue of Desktop Magazine, seven of Australia’s leading creatives (including our Creative Director, Jason) answered some burning questions from students around the country.

See the ‘sealed’ section after the jump.

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The belief that designers are wankers puzzles me. Are architects wankers? Is fashion wanky? Is creativity just a blatant wankfest that revels in its own status and ideas? Who says, or decided it so?

For a start, I question whether this label is in fact a relic from our own industry, rather than the greater population. I just don’t think people care one way or another about a designer in their day-to-day goings on. In which case is it actually a self-deprecating term that designers had once given themselves? Perhaps it could have even come from those in client service, who enviously “rise and sleep under the blanket of creativity in which I provide, then question the manner in which I provide it”, as Mr. Nicholson calls it in ‘A few good creatives’.

I don’t believe designers are wankers. Sure skinny black jeans and scarily low V-neck tees don’t help this image. The wearing of scarfs in relatively warm weather equally doesn’t help the label. I once wore a scarf whilst giving a design talk in Cape Town, which sounds really wanky saying it, but honestly I wasn’t trying to be one, it was just really cold.

So back to the topic at hand. Why the term? It may be a bit of a generalization, but the days of designers complaining or throwing tantrums are long gone: no whining about making a logo bigger, making the type size larger than 6pt; or that the client just doesn’t get what we’re trying to do.

The designer of yester-year was shrouded in mystery. We worked behind closed doors and expected people to understand our creative decisions, and why route 2 was absolutely the best course of action. So of course we may have simply been misunderstood by our colleagues and clients, which in turn led to a wrongly assigned labeling.

These days the role of designers, and especially graphic designers, is a moving feast. We now operate in a space where design is acknowledged as critical for businesses to succeed, and with that, a newfound understanding of design.

We’ve had to become more open and collaborative with our clients, adapting to their world quickly and with a greater level of business acumen.

Designers are now solving serious business problems, changing employee behavior, raising stock prices, defining destinations and helping to transform organizations and corporations.  We’re now more than ever before, critical to the success or failure of a business, and with that acknowledgement, we’ve had to get more serious. Sure we all have the tendency to get caught up in buzz words and design lingo every once in a while, but you only have to hear other designers talking jargon, to know the error of your ways and rectify the problem.

A possible alternative reason for the ‘wanker’ label, could simply be down to the fact that designers love what they do. Design is an truly exciting profession to be part of. For a start we turn up to work in the clothing we choose – no corporate office wear thank you very much. A job where music plays constantly – the playlist usually decided by the most up-to-date music aficionado (music wanker).

How about the actual work we do. It’s never the same in any given day. It means we have to become experts in every industry and business we’re fortunate to work with, increasing our knowledge and understanding, resulting in trivial pursuit prowess and pub quiz champ status (except sport questions).

And then there’s the perks that come with the job: Foosball, table tennis, breakfast – even if it’s simply an unlimited supply of vegemite and toast, and way too many beers consumed in and out of the office to be legal.  If I wasn’t in design, I too might think ‘lucky bastards’ or even ‘wankers’.

Now in a complete 180 degree turn, there is one area I would whole-heartedly agree that designers are wankers: our habit of criticising and laying judgment on others in our profession. Too easily do we point the finger at people’s work, rate it as terrible, and delight when others to join in like sheep. It’s an unfortunate insecurity that plagues us.

A united industry – one able to give constructive feedback and criticism, not simply criticise, is one that will help shed the unconfident and insecure side of design. A shared optimism and belief in making the world better through creativity can only be a good thing. So let’s move on from the dated and irrelevant nickname that has no validity in describing a truly exciting profession.

Peace, and I’m out of here. (Wanker.)